My IHOPKC Experience: Amanda’s Story
by Amanda Beattie
When I first arrived in Kansas City for the Fire in the Night internship in September of 2003, I was sure that I was going to be here for three months. Now, almost a full sixteen years later, I’m happy to report that things didn’t quite work out the way I had planned.
I had grown up in a Christian family, and from early on I knew I wanted to go into ministry when I grew up. Exactly what that looked like, however, was far from clear to me. I had a passion for worship, but I wasn’t a worship leader. I wanted to help people understand that God is beautiful and fascinating, but I didn’t see myself as a preacher. I had no idea what that left me or how to even begin moving forward—until I happened upon a teaching by Mike Bickle about the Anna calling (Luke 2), where worship and prayer, ministering unto the Lord, could be a full-time job. Like, a real job. I immediately resonated with the message but was nervous about striking out on my own.
My youth group came and visited the house of prayer later that year and the Onething conference that December. Having visited and enjoyed the prayer room for myself, I decided to apply for the Fire in the Night internship.
Just for one track, I thought. Three months, and then I’ll try and figure out whatever the next step is.
As it turns out, the next step was Fire in the Night Track 2. And the day before that second track began, the Lord met me in the prayer room in a profound way, and I knew that I was supposed to move to Kansas City. When I called my parents to ask them what they thought, they very kindly informed me that I was the last person in our family to figure that out.
So at 18 years old I had joined staff at the International House of Prayer and was serving on the NightWatch—the section I had come to love over the course of my internship. I knew exactly why I was there. I was an Anna. I was a Mary of Bethany. I was called to “waste my life” at the feet of Jesus, and it didn’t matter if anyone else saw me or understood me, because it was all for Him. This was my calling! I loved spending the night in worship and prayer, occasionally praying on the mic, occasionally dancing with the dance team or playing flute with the worship team. Now just to lock in for the next several decades doing exactly this and nothing else.
You’ll understand, then, why I was surprised when the Lord soon told me—more clearly than He had told me to do anything else, even moving to Kansas City—to attend the Apostolic Preaching Program at the Forerunner School of Ministry (before the school expanded into IHOPU).
I didn’t understand it at all. Before finding out about IHOPKC, I may not have had much clarity about my ministry calling, but I knew that I wasn’t a preacher. Few things sounded more terrifying to me than having to stand in front of people and talk. But I couldn’t argue with what the Lord was saying or with the way He made it possible for me to enroll. So, while I stayed on full-time staff with the NightWatch, I also became a student—albeit with much confusion and reluctance.
Over the next three years, and under the guidance of some truly excellent teachers and leaders, the Lord began to expand my heart. I began to learn that there’s not a big gulf between those who preach and those who pray. I began to learn that friendship with God means spending those long and loving hours of meditation at His feet, but it also means being so moved by what you have seen and heard that you can’t help but speak it to others. I began to see that, in their proper priority, the first commandment (love for God) spills over into the second (love for people), and they are not in competition with one another. I began to see that there wasn’t such a big difference of priority between John the Baptist, a self-proclaimed friend of the Bridegroom, and Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet. Even Anna, the woman who spent so many years living in the temple, was among the very first to proclaim the truth about who Jesus was.
Without even realizing it, by the time I graduated, something in my heart had shifted to where I wasn’t just begrudgingly taking some classes; I actively wanted to teach people about Jesus. I had resonated with the cry of Song of Solomon 1:4 to be “drawn away” in intimacy and devotion to Jesus—but now, just like the passage describes, I also found myself agreeing with the cry, “Let us run together,” to encounter Jesus in the place of serving and discipling others.
For more than a decade after that, I continued to serve on the NightWatch. I was helping lead and teach the Fire in the Night internship as well as contributing to IHOPU Online. The next years would bring so many challenges and joys—times of smallness, which are sweet but are so laborious, and times of great growth, which are exciting but also cause you to lose “your” seat in the prayer room. There were times of great joy, watching young families join together and bring forth children in an environment of night-and-day prayer, and times of heartache, with close friends getting called to move on to their next assignment in another part of the world. There have been deliriously silly early morning donut runs after the NightWatch is over, and then the realization that you’re really getting too old to stomach early morning donut runs after the NightWatch anymore.
Life in general can be challenging, and living life in a prayer room is no exception. Yet I found that there was a great glory to serving on the NightWatch for so long, which is also one of its greatest challenges: When it’s 3am and you are sitting in a prayer room, you have to periodically stop and ask yourself, “What am I even doing here, and why am I doing it?”
And once you ask that question, you have to answer it.
For me, I’ve had to ask that question many times over the years. I asked it when I began to wrestle with how being a messenger gelled with being an Anna. I asked it after my longtime worship team dissolved. I asked it after dear friends moved away. I asked it when we did a big, staff-wide schedule switch across the NightWatch. I had to ask that question a lot when I entered my thirties, because saying, “I will waste my life” sounds a whole lot different at age 17 than it does at age 30. But every time, it keeps coming back to the simple cry of Psalm 27:4, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”
As I think about the season of reset that IHOPKC is in right now, and I look at where we’re headed in the future, I think we’re corporately asking that question. I really do believe that the Lord is inviting us to reach again for the simplicity of devotion, for putting the first commandment in first place, for learning to sit at His feet and receive His words. The growing pains, the struggle, and the realignment of our priorities mean that we’re growing in love. I have so much faith that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that He knows how to take a bunch of weak, silly, misguided people and be glorified among us.
What is the Lord’s calling on your life? Do you have an Anna call?
Amanda Beattie has served as an intercessory missionary at the International House of Prayer since 2003. Called to the NightWatch (the hours between midnight and 6am), she has served as a musician, prayer leader, and a teacher in the Fire in the Night internship. Herself an IHOPU graduate (2007), Amanda has a passion for equipping believers with the tools they need to understand the Bible and to grow in the knowledge of God. She currently lives in the Kansas City metro area.